If you can shop local for hardware or clothes, why not for music? Instead of buying one of those cynically packaged greatest-hits collections or the extra special edition of a CD you've already plunked down $15 for months ago, why not check out some great music made in Jackson? Indeed, the capitol city is the home of an exciting new record label, Esperanza Plantation, founded two years ago and now the home of six bands. You can sample the bands of Esperanza Plantation at a label showcase Saturday Dec. 18 at the Capri Theater in the heart of Jackson's Fondren Business District.
Hope is central to the philosophy of Esperanza Plantation and its 29-year-old founder, Chaney Nichols. It's even a part of their name (check your Spanish dictionary). Nichols created Esperanza Plantation with the idea of bringing together a collective of like-minded musicians to create a family that could help put the Jackson music scene on the map. As in every healthy family, each band on Esperanza Plantation is free to go their own way, to explore their own sound.
While Pensacola's Arkitekt presents edgy but catchy power pop, Questions in Dialect offers pretty, moody soundscapes, like the background soundtrack of a particularly strange but lovely day. Colour Revolt, formerly Fletcher, specializes in mini-emo symphonies of crunching guitars and off-kilter song structures. A Becoming Walk plays soft-spoken slowcore that packs an emotional punch, reminiscent of the Red House Painters or Yo La Tengo in their quieter moments. Clearly, Esperanza Plantation is more about a philosophy than a particular sound.
For many Jacksonians, the Capri represents the great potential of Fondren and Jackson itself. How appropriate that Esperanza Plantation is showcasing its bands at this up-and-coming venue! What better place to see gritty, underground indie rock than in a cavernous room with no heat? (Be sure to bring your jacket!) Nichols says he chose the Capri because, "I live in Fondren, and I want to see the Capri restored as a haven for this type of event."
He promises that this is only the first rock show at the Capri. In fact, Esperanza Plantation is so committed to the theater's resurrection that they will be donating a portion of the evening's proceeds to the Capri restoration fund.
Nichols and his cohorts are dedicated to fostering Jackson's burgeoning music scene, to give it direction. Many of these bands already have significant followings among the region's all-ages crowd. This is a good sign for Jackson's future. The Capri showcase will be all-ages, largely because they have no license to sell alcohol.
As I learned living in Austin for nine years, the most important element to a music scene is the audience. Bands need the energy and dollars of a live audience to survive and develop. As the roster of Esperanza Plantation shows, Jackson already has the bands. Here is your chance to "make the scene" in Jackson, while doing your part to reestablish a Fondren landmark. If you want to make Jackson a more exciting and vibrant place to live, support local artists and musicians. Rarely has doing your part to make Jackson creative and weird been easier or more fun.
Esperanza Plantation Label Showcase. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Capri Theater on State Street in Fondren. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:15 p.m. $7